Penrith chief Phil Gould believes the NRL should expand the competition to 20 teams and split the league into two conferences.
Expansion has been a talking point in the early part of the season, with discussion circulating about whether the NRL should relocate existing sides to untapped markets or create two new teams to expand the league to a 20 team competition.
Speaking on his Six Tackles podcast, Gould questioned whether the new markets would support a relocated team, when they could have their own franchise that would be there’s to create a foundation on.
“Relocation … can you imagine if, say, Ipswich or Redcliffe, that area was to be given a franchise but we’re going to move that team from Sydney to come there. Do the locals feel like that’s their team? I wouldn’t think so,” Gould said on the Six Tackles podcast.
“So, the arguments will be along the lines I guess of, do we bite the bullet and go to 20 teams and have two 10-team conferences around the country?
“It’s an option worth discussing, but then what do those conferences look like? Is it a Sydney conference and a regional conference? But then, does that survive? These are things that you’ve really got to look into.
“I think our game has to look at particularly those two locations [Brisbane and Perth]. It’s a conversation that should be going on.”
Gould also said any relocation of a New South Wales sides would create an issue similar to that of when South Sydney were excluded from the league at the start of the millennium.
“Their brands are important, that’s the other thing,” Gould said.
“The teams that survive outside Sydney: North Queensland, the Warriors, the Broncos, the Storm, survive on the fact they’re playing against the big brands in Sydney, like your Dragons and your Roosters.
“It’s the Sydney brands, because this was once a Sydney competition, they’re the most entrenched and traditional brands.”